Third baseman Justin Turner and the Boston Red Sox are in agreement on a two-year contract worth just shy of $22 million that includes an opt-out after the first season, sources told ESPN on Sunday.
Turner spent the past nine years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he blossomed into one of the National League’s most productive and consistent hitters. Now 38, he’ll head to Boston, which already has perennial MVP candidate Rafael Devers at third base, and likely settle into a first-base or designated hitter role, perhaps filling the slot of J.D. Martinez, who agreed to a deal Saturday with the Dodgers.
While Turner’s power receded this year, he remained a well-above-average hitter, batting .278/.350/.438 with 13 home runs and 81 RBIs in 128 games. After spending most of his 20s as a utilityman in Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, Turner’s renaissance started in Los Angeles, where he hit .296/.375/.490 during the regular season and .270/.370/.460 with 13 home runs in 86 postseason games.
Known for his long, red beard and clutch bat — his OPS is more than 50 points higher in his career with runners in scoring position — Turner had previously re-signed with the Dodgers twice. His first foray into free agency in 2016 netted a four-year, $64 million deal, and before the 2021 season, he signed a two-year, $32 million contract with a club option for 2023.
When the Dodgers chose to pay the $2 million buyout rather than a $16 million salary for next year, the possibility of Turner moving on grew.
The Dodgers had continued negotiating with him this week, but when Martinez agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract, Turner’s discussions with the Red Sox had accelerated. He joins a team that finished in last place in the American League East division last year and already this winter has lost Martinez and franchise shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed with San Diego Padres for 11 years and $280 million.
Among the Red Sox’s moves this winter: signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract, plus a $15.4 million posting fee, and adding three relievers — closer Kenley Jansen, right-hander Chris Martin and left-hander Joely Rodriguez — for a combined $51.5 million.
ESPN’s Joon Lee contributed to this report.
Justin Turner agrees to 2-year deal with Red Sox